Eucomis hybrids?

Diane Whitehead
Sat, 16 Dec 2006 17:58:17 PST
Here are notes I took at the IBSA Symposium.

Robyn McKenzie's talk was entitled "Beautiful Topknots" and she wore  
her hair in a eucomis-like updo.  I think her nursery is called  
Nurseriwilde, and it is in Natal, South Africa.

She is trying for plants that will be decorative for a long period as  
a potplant or a cutflower.  She described a plant with yellow flowers  
with a maroon centre, black seedpods and a deep purple topknot.  This  
could be decorative for four months in a pot or three months in a  
vase.  I did not make a note of whether she already has achieved this  
plant.  She and/or her mom have been hybridizing Eucomis for 15 years.

Humilis has maroon centres to its pale green flowers and a spotted  
topknot.  Montana has broad leaves, beautiful black centres, a small  
topknot. Vandermerwei has leaves with a crimped edge and lovely pink  

Now that I look through my notes, I see two species to produce dark  
centres, but cannot see where she is going to get the yellow flowers.

She needs to eliminate the stink of bicolor and montana.

She tosses out all seedlings with narrow leaves as soon as they  
germinate because a potplant needs short broad leaves.  It also  
should not produce too many "pups".

Some of the species she has hybridized do not produce hybrid seeds  

  Schijffii which was recently discovered in the mountains of Lesotho  
can cope with ground that is frozen for two months.  It is difficult  
to get hybrid seeds from it.

She puts her seeds in the fridge for three or four weeks and then  
sows them in a heated bed where they grow over winter.  This cuts a  
year off but some still take up to five years to flower.

Leaf cuttings are best prior to flowering - the leaves are somewhat  
limp afterwards.

She also mentions a few methods of asexual propagation that I am  
unfamiliar with:
She twinscales them in heated beds of riversand and has an 80% take.

She also takes cuttings from the flower stem and topknot.
If you remove the flowers, bulblets will form where the flowers were.

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